Google to Force Developers to Use Play Store’s Billing System for In-App Purchases Just Like Apple

Google Play

Google is said to issue new guidelines to push app developers to use the brand’s in-app payment service in the Play Store.

Google requires every app that is distributed through the Play Store to use the app distribution platform’s payment system for in-app purchases. And Google takes a 30% cut on those purchases. However, a few popular apps on the Play Store, including Netflix and Spotify use a workaround to circumvent this rule. These platforms prompt users to use their direct payment service to make in-app purchases using their credit cards. This way, these companies save the 30% commission charged by Google.

Well, according to a new report from Bloomberg, Google plans to issue updated guidelines to developers asking them to use Google’s in-app payment service. The publication says that “Google plans to push harder for developers to give the company a cut on in-app purchases through its Play Store.” However, the report also says that Google might not remove the apps that don’t follow Play Store’s policies immediately. Instead, they will be given time to update their apps to use Google’s billing system.

According to a Google spokesperson, “As an open platform, Android allows multiple app stores. In fact, most Android devices come with at least two stores right out of the box, and users can install others. For developers who choose to distribute their apps on Google Play, our policy has always required them to use Play’s billing system if they offer in-app purchases of digital goods. We are always working with our partners to clarify these policies and ensure they are applied equitably and reasonably.”

While Apple and Google have been criticized for a long time regarding the 30% app commission that they levy on developers, the topic gained attention when Apple and Google removed Fortnite from their app distribution platforms because the game developer had introduced a direct payment service in the game for in-app purchases. Epic Games has sued Apple and Google for the removal of Fortnite from the App Store and Play Store.

Meanwhile, Epic Games, in collaboration with Spotify, Match Group, and other developers has formed an organization called Coalition for App Fairness with an aim to fight against policies on App Store and Play Store and to force these brands to eliminate/reduce the app commission.

Our Take

Google’s move comes when Apple is being criticized for its 30% app commission. We believe that this is just the beginning of the fight between developers and app distribution platforms regarding the app commission. There is a whole lot of drama that we will be witnessing in the coming days.

[Source: Bloomberg]